Capturing the quintessential spirit of the Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park - Limpopo & Mpumalanga - South Africa

 

Who hasn’t dreamed of going to the Kruger National Park? We were no different and yet surprisingly we had only been once before. In 2011 we returned for our second visit.

 
Baobab tree

Baobab tree

View and grey heron - birdhide Kruger National Park

View and grey heron - birdhide Kruger National Park

 

This was a family trip. Who’s to say though that it was parents and kids? We were an adult family – all above the age of 50! That doesn’t mean we behaved like mature adults. We were probably more excited than a bunch of kids going on their first safari. We laughed from dawn till dusk, having a great time being together and obviously our joviality didn’t chase ALL the wild animals away.

 
Elephant Kruger National park
 
 
Terapins
 

We were three couples, all related, brother, sisters, and their respective spouses. It’s not often that all six of us get together at the same time. Two were expert Kruger Park visitors and the other four were amateurs.

 

Crocodiles on the bank of the river

Crocodiles on the bank of the river

Buffalo

Buffalo

Cheetah
 

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Entering the Kruger National Park

We entered at a southern gate, Malelane and drove north to Skukuza where we met the rest of the family.


Did you know there are nine entrance gates to Kruger? These are clockwise from the south:

 

  1. Crocodile Bridge

  2. Malelane

  3. Numbi

  4. Phabeni

  5. Paul Kruger

  6. Orpen

  7. Phalaborwa

  8. Punda Maria

  9. Pafuri

 

Which entrance should you choose? It largely depends where your accommodation is booked and how far you would like to travel. Bear in mind the speed limit through the park is 50 km/h on tar roads and 40 km/h on gravel roads, so allow sufficient travel time.     

We’d hired an 8-seater vehicle at Skukuza so that we could all travel together through the park.

 

Elephant
Elephant tusks at Letaba Rest Camp

Elephant tusks at Letaba Rest Camp

Fish eagle

Fish eagle

 
View through bungalows Olifants Rest camp Kruger National Park

Our accommodation at the Kruger National Park:

We spent a total of 4 nights in the park in bungalows with their own bathrooms. We packed snacks, tea, coffee and rusks but ate our meals at the restaurants at the camps.

The camps we chose were:

Satara Rest Camp

Olifants Rest Camp

Letaba Rest Camp

 

Each camp has its own beauty, however there are some camps that are more busy than others.

 

Water dripping from the elephant’s mouth

Water dripping from the elephant’s mouth

Looks like pale molten lawa spilling over the rocks

Looks like pale molten lawa spilling over the rocks

 

Unless you have plenty of time on your hands, it is difficult to cover even a small part of the vast area of nearly 2 million hectares of national park.

We tried our best but of course didn’t cover all of it. The furthest point we drove to was Mopani, although we didn’t stay there.

 
Flower Kruger National Park
 

This is the quintessential core of the wildlife of Africa, in the north-eastern part of South Africa. It is South Africa’s largest game reserve. Not only is it home to the Big 5, the elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and buffalo but also has diverse bird species and many other small and large animals.

 
Grey heron
 
 
Hippo at river
 
 
Kudu
 
 
Elephant skull and tusks at Letaba Rest Camp

Elephant skull and tusks at Letaba Rest Camp

 

From the time we drove out of Skukuza we saw many of them. We covered a large area in a few days but it is not always recommended. Maybe having six sets of eyes helped spot the wild animals too.

So much has been written about the Kruger National Park, that I am my sure my scribbles won’t do justice to it. Instead I have tried to capture the quintessential spirit of the Kruger National Park through my photos. Hope you enjoy them.

 

Monitor lizard
Monkey
 

Quick tips:

  • Allow enough time between camps for sightings or delays.  

  • Plan your trip – do not try and cover too much ground. If you rush you could miss out on good sightings.

  • Usually the best time to see wild animals is early morning and late afternoon or evening. This does not mean you won’t see anything in the middle of the day, but animals are known to lie down in the long grass under the shade of a tree, thus will make it more difficult to spot them.  

  • It is a good idea to bring a torch or headlamp as there is limited lighting when walking around at the camps at night.

  • Most of the rest camps have restaurants or shops with fairly decent supplies.

  • If you are eating at the restaurants, the cost is usually extra.

 

Mopani camp gate
Olifants river at Olifants rest camp Kruger National Park

 

You can also stay outside the park and do a day trip into the Kruger National Park. Take a look at some of the lodges available nearby:

Booking.com
 
Rhino lying in grass
Rhinoceros
 
 
Zebra
Satara Rest Camp, Kruger National Park

Satara Rest Camp, Kruger National Park

 
 
Small antelope - steenbok

The Sanparks website is quite comprehensive, so if you need further information please do delve deeper.

Roaming Fox is not in any way affiliated to SANPARKS

Waterbuck
Sunset river Kruger National Park
 

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